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How to Remarket Your Prospects Using Facebook Custom Audiences

Posted by Rachael Vail-Steele on 2/19/15 9:30 AM

What is the new social media game all the big boys are playing? Do you know?


Here it is: Remarketing to your prospects using social media.

We've been doing it too, and it's really, really exciting! Of course, we wanted to pass on to you what we've learned from our own experiments, so you can test it out for yourselves.

First, the facts. Here are some social media statistics in case you need them.

According to Edison Research:

56% of Americans have a social media profile
55% of Americans 45-54 have a social media profile
22% of Americans use social media several times/day
64% of American say social media influences purchase behavior

The social media game has been changing for awhile. The old rules you learned may no longer apply. Here's what you've probably been told in the past (maybe even by us!):

  • Post a few times a week.
  • Post images for engagement.
  • Start conversations with your followers.
  • Encourage engagement through questions.
  • Social media is “free”.

Is this driving sales? The data tells us, probably not. The days of "free" social media are long gone. If you're not using paid social advertising, then your social media activity is likely getting lost in the shuffle. 

By using strategic paid social advertising, combined with custom audiences, you can begin to remarket to your prospects on social media.

How does it work?

Remarketing simply means targeting people who have interacted with your company and your content, and delivering custom ads to them through social media. How many times have you noticed that pair of shoes you were looking at online earlier pop up on your Facebook feed? Or did you have déjà vu when you noticed a Facebook ad from a website you visited yesterday?

This is done with a tracking pixel. [Warning: tech jargon ahead!] It's a nifty piece of JavaScript code that's added to the source code on every web page on your website, before the closing </head> tag in your HTML. This is a special piece of code that is linked to your Facebook Ad account and it's the only audience tracking pixel code you need, no matter how many audiences you create. 

Once the tracking pixel is added to your website, every time someone visits a web page on your website the pixel will be activated, tracked, and added to the Custom Audience. The visitor's activity on your website will be compared to the set of Custom Audience rules and added to the appropriate audience (ex: Visited the website, but did not buy a product or Viewed specific content). The next time the visitor goes to Facebook, your ads will be shown to them. 

Privacy Disclaimer on Your Website

This all may sound like Big Brother is watching you. Don't worry, we're not trying to secretly track you. Twitter outlines in its advertising policies, similar to Facebook's Advertising Policies, that those who are using tracking pixels must provide notice on their website and information on how to opt out of being tracked.

"Advertisers using these products for their websites must provide their website users with legally sufficient notice that they are working with third parties to collect user data through their website for purposes of conversion tracking and serving ads targeted to users’ interests, and legally sufficient instructions to such users that they can opt out of some of those third parties’ interest-based advertising through the Do Not Track functionality in their web browser or through such other methods that Twitter may specify from time to time here."


When you create a Facebook advertising campaign you'll start by choosing your objective, promoting your website or page, increasing downloads or sign ups, boosting a post, or something else. Your objective will help you decide which custom audiences are the right targets for that ad campaign. 

Facebook Custom Audiences

You can build custom audiences on Facebook using demographics and tracking (The following screen shots are from Facebook Business Manager. We love using it to manage all of the Facebook Pages and Advertising accounts we manage, as well as our own.) 

As you can see below, we started by adding the tracking pixel on all of the pages of our website. Then we created additional audiences that were narrowed down by what specific content and pages they viewed or did not view on our website. 








Conversion Tracking

Tracking clicks and likes is a great brand awareness objective, but what about increasing event sign ups, downloads, or purchases? This is where Conversion Tracking comes into play. This is an additional pixel to add to your website to track when someone clicks on your ad and then takes action on your website (ex: signs up for the event your promoting, buys those shoes they were looking at earlier, or downloads a resource.) 

This pixel is created when you've selected the Website Conversions objective for your Facebook Ads, add the link to the specific website you're promoting, and selected the type of website action you're measuring. The of JavaScript code generated needs to be added to the source code before the closing </head> tag in the HTML of the confirmation page, the page that someone sees after they've completed the action.





This is my favorite part, seeing how well your Facebook Advertising Campaign performed! We've tested different campaigns on Facebook and seen that the ads targeting website visitors had more clicks and conversions than the campaigns targeting interests or behaviors. 



Facebook Best Practices

It's time to stop following the old rules for Facebook--which aren't that old! We realize this all seems to change as soon as you get it figured out.

Here are some of the new best practices for businesses using the popular social media platform.

Use Facebook For:

  • Amplifying content: getting your articles, videos, reports in front of people.
  • Test variations to see what works best
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • B2B and B2C targeting
  • Moderately detailed buyer persona targeting (mostly focused on consumer)
  • A mature remarketing platform

One more thing: Don't forget to stay active on your Facebook Page! When people see your ads they'll sometimes click to see your page for more content and information about your company. Don't let them see you haven't posted any new content since 2013!

Have you had any experience, success, or practice using Facebook Custom Audiences and social ads? Please let us know how it's working for you in the comments below!

Crisis Management Playbook


Topics: marketing, facebook, social media

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